Yesterday’s employment figures show a slight decrease in local unemployment.
Across Cornwall 9624 people are claiming Job Seekers Allowance, compared to 8954 one year ago; so 670 more people are working. 159 of the people who have now found work live in the former Carrick area, which includes Falmouth as well as Truro; but 1439 people in the same area are still looking for work.
The headline figures are relatively better news, but not for the growing number of young adults in Cornwall who are now experiencing long term unemployment. There are 400 young adults (aged 18-24) who have been unemployed for more than one year, compared to 335 one year ago.
In commenting on the figures yesterday, Government Minister Mark Hoban asserted – without saying how many people or over what time period – that there has been a “24% increase” in the number of people starting apprenticehips in Cornwall.
We have a long way to go before young adults can feel confident there are work opportunities locally and a prosperous future living in Cornwall. And we need elected representatives at every level who are prepared to talk about real people rather than meaningless percentages.
This afternoon I attended a meeting of the Truro and Roseland Children’s Centres Advisory Board. These meetings provide an invaluable overview of the impact of policy changes and other issues affecting children’s services in the local area.
Professionals in Cornwall have worked hard to improve children’s services after some negative Ofsted findings. As well as myriad policy shifts, there have been organisational changes in response to funding cuts.
I learned a lot about some of the current pressures on local children’s services and centres – some I was already aware of, others not. I was the only councillor at the meeting; but no doubt there are Cornwall Council members who are already well-briefed on the issues.
In the political news emerging from County Hall many actions seem self-serving. In the leadership discussions, I wonder how much time is being spent on policy priorities and making better use of the available funding, rather than jockeying for Party political or individual advantage.
The last Cornwall Council was marked by divisions within its leadership. Now the incoming Council is inviting all Groups to join the leadership.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has sketched out principles that he says he hopes ‘everyone can agree on:
- Protect the services which are important to the people of Cornwall;
- Improve housing options including the building of new council houses for local families;
- Keep council tax as fair as possible;
- Drive the economy to create and protect jobs within Cornwall. Create additional apprenticeships to upskill local young people for the world of work;
- Take more council decisions in local communities instead of in County Hall;
- Always seek the best value for money and the most efficient services;
- Keep our roads safe, clean and well-maintained and support our local economies by cutting parking charges;
- Campaign for fair funding and additional powers from central government.’
None of these would be easy to deliver in the context of ongoing cuts by the Tory and Liberal Democrat Government.
If the Groups decide to all work together it is clear already that there are several different takes on what ‘fair’ council tax means; that different services are important to different people; and that there are differing views on devolving more decisions – including parking charges? – to local communities.
The next ten days will be interesting – as practical details are debated I think we are more likely to see some groups choosing to not join the new Council leadership.
The discussions I think should be public, not held behind closed doors.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Cornwall Council election.
Although I wasn’t elected, there are just five Cornwall Council seats in Truro / Threemilestone and – while elections are winner takes all – I was pleased to receive the sixth largest vote of the 29 candidates who put themselves forward for election in these five electoral divisions.
I worked hard throughout the elections but particularly want to thank two friends who helped me in the last couple of days – you know who you are!
Twenty four people were validly nominated as candidates for Truro City Council: 10 Liberal Democrats, 7 Independent / unaffiliated, 3 Tories, 2 Mebyon Kernow, 1 Green, and 1 Labour.
Some people were nominated for more than one ward, but the Cornwall Council website now confirms nominations have been withdrawn so that Boscawen, Redannick, and Trehaverne wards will be uncontested.
As there were the right number of people for seats it would certainly make sense to save tax-payers the expense of an election.
I’m pleased to be continuing as a city councillor for Trehaverne as well as now free to concentrate on the Cornwall Council election.
I’m delighted that Truro City Council has agreed to support the wishes of local residents for Newbridge Lane playing field to be kept as green open space.
In addition to supporting the petition I organised as it relates to this, we agreed to look into the possibility of it being transferred as a community asset to Truro City Council.
If that is what happens in future the Parks committee will consider how we can maximise the field’s amenity value for the local community. Ideas mentioned by councillors in discussion were a play area for children as well as markings and goal posts as this is a former football and rugby pitch.
Having organised this petition as a councillor for the area, I know there are a range of local residents’ views which will need to be taken into full consideration in future on whether it should be kept as natural open green space or also include designated play areas etc.
For now I am happy that the petition I organised is helping us make some positive progress towards keeping this lovely green space for future generations to enjoy, as that is what most local people want to see happen.
Today I submitted a 400 signature petition to Cornwall Council related to the old Richard Lander school land which reads:
‘We the undersigned
Support housing development on the former Richard Lander School site. Provided that:
- Improved access and infrastructure to/from the main A390 road is completed and operational in advance of new housing;
- All Saints hall, which is used by many local community groups, has sufficient parking spaces;
- Fifty per cent of the new homes to be built will be social and affordable housing;
- And for the playing field at Newbridge Lane to be listed by Cornwall Council as an asset of community value and allocated as green infrastructure in local development plans.’
The petition remains open for the time being – just contact me at email@example.com if you would like to sign.
Coincidentally yesterday some Irish heritage travellers who had been camped at Newham moved onto the field next to the old Richard Lander School site (which is not the Newbridge Lane playing field).
This year it will be seven years since the new school opened, the former school is now neglected and something of an eyesore.
The old school site could be much better use provided there is still enough green space protected for local people to enjoy.